Lifesavers Brace for New Year’s Onslaught

NSW volunteer lifesavers and professional lifeguards are nervously preparing for what is likely to be an extremely busy, and potentially dangerous, time along the coast this weekend.

A spate of drownings in the last week and current heat wave conditions have put the state’s lifesaving services on high alert. New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day are often the busiest days of the season as revellers flock to the ocean to cool off or head to summer holiday destinations.

Surf Life Saving NSW Acting CEO, Adam Weir, is urging everyone heading to the beach to enjoy the New Year celebrations safely.

“There are a number of simple ways you can help ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable time on the beach. Always swim at a patrolled location between the flags and very importantly, don’t enter the water under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Mr Weir.

Extreme temperatures are also of concern and people with medical conditions are advised to take extra care around water.

The death of a man found in the water at Evans Head last night brings the total coastal death toll to six in the last six days. State-wide 12 people have died in water-related accidents in the last week.

“We are extremely concerned about the run of tragedies in the last week and implore people taking to the water to be very careful,” said Mr Weir. “Lifesavers and lifeguards are out in force but we need the public to take some responsibility for their own safety.”

In holiday hotspots like Byron Bay, additional lifesaving assets will be deployed over the weekend. At Main Beach on New Year’s Eve, lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service will be stationed on the beach between 6pm and 2am to try to prevent people taking to the water at night. The Far North Coast Branch support operations team will also have vehicles and volunteer duty officers working alongside Police and paramedics.

“Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of the beach going public, and while our volunteers and support teams will be ready in the event of emergencies, we’d ask the public to make the job of lifesavers and lifeguards as easy as possible over the weekend.”

Volunteer lifesavers will be patrolling each weekend and public holiday until the 2016/17 season concludes on Tuesday 25 April 2017.

Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police
  • Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated
  • For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

Fri 30 Dec 2016